Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?


Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?


Thoughts and observations from watching and reading a transcript of Alex Thomson of Channel 4’s Interview with Stewart Regan (CEO of the SFA) Broadcast by Channel 4 on 29 March 2012.


Introduction. I came across the above interview recently and listened to and transcribed it again as it reminded me of questions it raised then that the passage of time since has provided some insight into.

There is a lot to digest so the blog is broken into four sections.  Three parts cover the Interview plus what they seem to tell us now, knowing what was not known then viz:

  • Why No independent or independent element to the enquiry that became the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission. given the potential extent of the corruption at play?
  • Why no effective fit and Proper Person scrutiny and the absence of real governance?
  • EBTS and whether they constitute wrong doing and why that mattered so much and still does. plus
  • The “hard to not to believe” conclusions about the whole exercise with the benefit of what we ken noo.

There is also an Annex at the end with excerpts from the Lord Nimmo Smith Decision for ease of reference:

The comments (in bold italics) are based on what Regan said then and what we ken noo, either as facts or questions arising from them. It is a long read but hopefully readers will be enticed by this introduction to stay the course.

In the following “SR” is Stewart Regan CEO of the SFA and “AT” is Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.

No Independent Enquiry?


AT I’m just curious as to why they wouldn’t. With something as big as this potentially this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport, which is – a thought – and yet the SPL deem themselves fit to investigate themselves.

SR Well I think you are calling it potentially the biggest corruption case, at this stage there has been no wrongdoing proven.  There is an investigation going on

AT But you would accept that potentially, potentially that if guilty there is no question this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport.

SR There is no wrongdoing as I said at the moment and there is nothing yet that has been established as far as the club registering players without providing the appropriate documentation, so I think it would   be wrong to jump to conclusions and even use words like corruption. You know there are a series of issues here. There are some footballing matters which are being dealt through the football authorities and there are tax mattes which are being dealt with through HMRC and there is to be a Tax Tribunal due to be heard as I’m sure you are aware in April.

So even before the investigation got underway Mr Regan was saying that it would be incorrect to assume that any wrong doing took place in terms of the registration process and use of ebts. He later expands on this point in relation to EBTs as a legitimate tax arrangement device. Given that the FTT did not rule until November 2012 that the ebts issued under the Murray Management Group Remuneration Trust (MMGRT) were legal then this stance by Mr Regan appears justifiable at the time of interview – but more on that later. 

AT I’m just wondering why at no stage anybody seemed, or perhaps they did, to think we need an independent body coming in this is big this is huge, potentially  we need somebody from the outside  or we are going simply going to be accused of investigating ourselves.

SR Well I think that might be one for you to ask the Scottish Premier League as far as their Board..

AT Well they appeal to you so I’m asking you.

SR   No as you said we are the right of appeal so if the club is concerned with any punishment it has been given well then they can choose to appeal to us. We as a body have the provision in our rules to carry out independent enquiries, indeed we did so very recently by appointing the Right Honourable Lord Nimmo Smith to carry out our own investigation into Rangers and we are part way through disciplinary proceedings and they will be heard on 29 March.

Given that player registrations are ultimately lodged with the SFA where Sandy Bryson has been doing the job for some years, I did wonder why the SFA were not the body taking the lead. They had the expertise on what turned out to be a key issue, the eligibility of players if misregistration occurred.  Indeed Sandy Bryson was called in to give a testimony to Lord Nimmo Smith that most folk involved in running a football team from amateur level upwards (as I was) had difficulty accepting. The Bryson interpretation suggested us amateurs had been daft not to take the risk of being found out if we did not register players correctly if only games from the point of discovery risked having results overturned. The Bryson interpretation on eligibility made no sense against that experience and it still does not to football lovers. I’m not sure if the rules have been amended to reflect the Bryson interpretation yet, but cannot see how they can be without removing a major deterrent that I always thought proper registration was there to provide.

The point about their having to be a body of higher appeal sounded plausible then, but could the Court of Arbitration on Sport not have been that body?  Or did that risk taking matters out of the SFA’s control even though it would have introduced an element of the independence that Alex Thomson raises in the following paragraphs in his interview?

AT But did anybody at any stage at the SFA say to you I have a concern that we need an independent body, that the SPL can’t and shouldn’t handle this?

SR Well under the governance of football the SPL run the competition

AT I’m not asking, I’m saying did anybody come to you at any stage and say that to you. Anybody?

SR No they didn’t as far as the SPL’s processes is concerned. The SPL ,

AT Never?

It is notable here that Alex Thomson pushes the point about lack of independence, which is where we enter “wit we ken noo territory”.  

Given that it is now known that SFA President Campbell Ogilvie sat on the Rangers FC Remunerations Policy Committee in September 1999 where it was decided Discount Option Scheme (DOS) ebts would be used as a matter of club remuneration policy using the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT).

Given that we know that Campbell Ogilvie instigated the first ebt payment to Craig Moore using the Discount Options Scheme.

Given that Ronald De Boer and Tor Andre Flo had both been paid using the same type of DOS ebt as Moore from 2000 to 2002/03 but accompanied by side letters, later concealed from HMRC  in 2005 and of course the SFA from August 2000.

Given that Mr Ogilvie was also in receipt of the later MMGRT ebts disputed by HMRC in the big tax case on which the FTT had still to rule

Given that Mr Regan must have been aware at time of interview that Sherriff Officers had called at Ibrox in August 2011 to collect payment of a tax bill, which means even to a layman that it must have gone past dispute to acceptance of liability and so crystallised sometime after 31st March 2011.

Given that Craig Whyte had already agreed to pay the wee tax bill in his public Takeover statement in early June 2011.

Given that on 7th December 2011 Regan had written to Andrew Dickson at RFC, who had sat on three of the four SFA/UEFA Licensing Committee meetings in 2011, to approve a draft statement by Mr Regan on the SFA’s handling of the UEFA Licence aspect of the wee tax case, which arose as a direct result of the use of the DOS ebts to Flo and De Boer during Dickson’s ongoing tenure at RFC from 1991.

Given that Campbell Ogilvie accompanied Stewart Regan to meet Craig Whyte at the Hotel De Vin on 15th December 2011 as a result of an invite stemming from that consternation causing draft that RFC thought likely to cause problems for the SFA (having agreed before the hotel meeting that no comment should be made on the wee tax case)

Given that the wee tax case was a direct result of those early types of DOS ebts being judged illegal by an FTT considering an appeal by the Aberdeen Asset Management company in 2010.

Given all of these facts, how credible is it that no conversation took place between Regan and Campbell Ogilvie on the requirement for an independent enquiry?

If a conversation did not take place as claimed, the question has to be should it have?

Given the foregoing facts on the early ebts, how credible is it Mr Regan during this interview did not know as a result of his involvement with the overdue payable and the UEFA licence in 2011 of the illegal and therefore wrong doing nature of those early EBTS with side letters concealed from the SFA and HMRC in 2005 just before Mr Ogilvie left RFC?

SR The SPL run, the SPL run the rules of The Scottish Premier League and they apply that. There are a whole host of people raising issues on internet sites and passing comment s about various theories that they have about Scottish football particularly in the West of Scotland. I think it’s important to establish that governance of Scottish football is managed by the appropriate body whether it is the Premier League, The Football League or the overall governing body. So that as far as we are concerned we let the   Scottish Premier league manage their own rules and if those rules are then broken and the club is charged they have the right of appeal to us as the Appellant body.

Given all of the now known facts listed above how credible is it that the reason given by Stewart Regan to Alex Thomson for the SFA being the appeal body was indeed the only one?

Given the foregoing how credible is it that Mr Regan was not aware that he was being economical with the truth during his interview or had he indeed been kept in the dark by others in the SFA?

Fit and Proper Person and Absence of Governance

AT Let’s talk about Craig Whyte. Ehm   – Presumably when Craig Whyte was mooted as coming in as the new owner – for the grand sum of £1 – for Rangers Football club, presumably the SFA took a keen interest in this and did some kind of due diligence on this man.

SR Well we have under our articles, Article 10.2, we have a process which sets out a number of criteria for what defines a fit and proper person within football. Now as you know we cannot stop people getting involved with a business and we cannot stop people getting involved with a PLC, all we can stop them doing is having an involvement with football, so what we do as part of that process is we ask for a declaration from the Directors of the club that they have a copy of the Articles,, that they have gone through the conditions and criteria within Article 10.2 and they have confirmed to us that they meet those criteria. If subsequently those criteria are breached then of course we take appropriate action.

AT You keep quoting rules back to me that’s not what I’m asking, I’m asking is did the SFA conduct any due diligence on this individual.

SR No we asked for a self-declaration from the Directors of the club and the individual himself.

AT Forgive me that sounds absolutely incredible this is the biggest club in Scotland which has been brought to its knees by a whole range of fiscal mismanagement, it is all on the record and proven. A new man comes in claiming all kinds of things, just like the previous man, and the SFA did not check or do any due diligence whatsoever.

SR That is part of the process of governing football, we

AT That’s, that’s NOT governing football that’s the exact opposite to governing football that’s running away from governing football.

SR No if you let me, if you let me finish my answer the point I am about to make is we govern the entire game from the top of the game down to grass roots. We have changes of Directors we have changes of ownership throughout the course of the year. I’m sure that if we were to spend football’s well earned money on doing investigations into potentially every change of Director, then there would be a lot of unhappy Chairmen out there.

AT You could have easily have googled (?) for free

SR Well we rely on the clubs telling us that the Articles have been complied with and that is the process we undertake.

AT This is extraordinary I say to you again  you have years of fiscal mismanagement at Rangers Football Club, a new man comes in you are telling me that nobody at The SFA as much as got on to Google  to get any background information nobody did anything ? That is extraordinary.

SR Well you refer to alleged years of financial mismanagement. I think it’s important to separate out the previous regime at Rangers and the new owner.

AT Rangers were a mess financially everybody new that

SR But I think it’s important in the case of the point you are raising regarding the fit and proper person test, to separate out the previous regime from the new owner. The club was in the process of being sold, they were challenging a tax bill that had been challenged by HMRC,* and the club had been sold to a new owner. That new owner had come in, he had purchased the club, the paper work for that sale had gone through and the club had complied with our Articles of Association. We run football we don’t, we are not the police we don’t govern transactions, we don’t govern fitness, we run football and we had asked the club to declare whether or not that person was fit to hold a place in association football. They had gone through the articles they’d signed to say that they had read those articles and that there had been no breaches of any of the points set out there. That included whether a Director had been disqualified. That wasn’t disclosed to us, indeed it did not come out until the BBC did their investigation back in October of last year.

(* note that in spite of all the “givens” listed earlier,  Mr Regan fails to distinguish (or appreciate) that there is more than one tax bill at play and the one for the wee tax case was not under challenge or Sherriff Officers would not have called in August 2011 to collect it.)

 AT So the BBC did due diligence on fitness (??) not the SFA?

SR No, as I said it came out in October 2010 primarily as a result of a detailed investigation. We then have to respond to potential breaches of our articles and we did that We entered into dialogue with the solicitor who was acting for Mr Whyte and we were in dialogue until February 2011 (?sic)  of this year when the club entered administration.

AT What I’m simply asking you to admit here is that the SFA failed and it failed Rangers in its hour of need over Craig Whyte and it failed Scottish football.

SR We didn’t fail.

AT You didn’t do anything, you said you didn’t do anything.

SR We complied with the current processes within our articles. That said I think there are a number of learnings and I think the same goes for football right across the globe. People are coming into football into a multimillion pound business and I think football needs to take a harder look at what could be done differently. We are currently exploring the possibility of carrying out due diligence using the outgoing regime to make sure that there is a full and rigorous research being done before the transaction is allowed to go ahead.

AT Do you feel the need to apologise to Rangers fans?

SR I don’t need to apologise because we complied with our articles. I don’t feel there is a need to apologise whatsoever. I think….

AT You need some new articles then don’t you?

SR Well I think the articles

AT Well let’s unpack this. You said there is no need to apologise because we followed the rule books so that’s all right. So you must therefore admit you need a new rule book.

SR No well I think it’s easy at times to try and look around and find a scapegoat and try and point fingers at where blame is to be apportioned. I think perhaps it might be worth looking at the previous regime who for four years when they said they were selling the club, said that they would sell it and act in the best interests of the club. With that in mind I think the previous regime also have to take some responsibility for selling that club and looking after so called shareholders of Rangers football club and those people who that have put money into the club over the years.

AT ??  (Interrupted)

SR the Scottish FA, as I said have a process, that process has been place for some time. It has worked very very well until now I think there are learnings undoubtably and as I said we will review where we can tighten up as I know is happening across the game right now.

The above segment on Craig Whyte and Fit and Proper  Persons is a timely reminder to supporters of all clubs, but particularly of Rangers FC of what happens when those charged with governing Scottish football hide behind the letter of the rules when convenient, rather than apply the true spirit in which those rules were written. It is the approach of The Pharisees to make a wrong , right.

To be fair to the SFA though, I doubt anyone could have imagined the degree of deceit and deception that they had allowed into Scottish football in May 2011 and how useless their rules were as a result, but I am not aware to this day if the SFA have apologised to Scottish football generally and Rangers supporters in particular, not only for failing to protect them from Craig Whyte, but also failing to protect them from the consequences of the foolish financial excesses of Sir David Murray, especially from 2008 when the tax bills in respect of the MMGRT ebts began to arrive at RFC . Some intervention then, assuming something was known by some at the SFA, who also held positions at Rangers, of  those  huge tax demands,  might have cost Rangers three titles from 2009, but what Ranger’s supporter would not give all of that up to protect their club from the fate that the failure of the SFA to govern has caused?

Also to be fair the SFA have changed the rules so that the outgoing regime is responsible for doing due diligence on any new club owners rather than relying on self-certification by the incoming club owner, but we know that did not work particularly well when Rangers Chairman Alistair Johnstone did due diligence on Craig Whyte , but then again Sir David Murray  was under pressure to sell and the guy coming in, everyone was told, had wealth off the radar.

The Nature of EBTS.

AT Let’s look at EBTs. Did nobody question ebts in the Scottish game in the English game come to that simply because nobody thought they were illegal in any way and indeed are not illegal in any way if operated correctly? Is it as simple as that?

SR There is nothing wrong with ebts when used correctly and ebts are a way of providing benefits to employees and if managed in a correct manner are perfectly legitimate. I think that the issue that we know is under investigation at the moment by both HMRC as part of the large tax case and the SPL as part of their own investigation into potential no disclosure of side letters is whether or not there has been any wrong doing and I think the issue at hand is that wrongdoing or potential wrongdoing has been discussed with HMRC for some time for several years in fact so we would not get involved in anything that there is no wrongdoing   taking place and ebts are, as I said, a legitimate way of doing business when used correctly.

Again taking the “givens” into account, particularly the significant event of Sherriff Officers calling to collect unpaid tax in August 2011 and the logical deduction that the SFA President must have known of the difference between the two types of ebts Rangers used, (and perhaps why they were changed) why the insistence at this point that all the ebts used by Rangers had been used correctly? Mr Regan at the time of the interview was either kept in the dark by his President, given he claims to have spoken to no one about the independence of the enquiry, or being economical with the truth.

The whole of Lord Nimmo Smith’s judgement made months after this interview, where Mr Regan stressed again and again there is no wrongdoing in the use of ebts if arranged correctly (or lawfully) is predicated on all ebts with side letters used by Rangers since 23 November 2011 actually being used correctly and in Lord Nimmo Smiths words on being “themselves not irregular”. (Para 5 of Annex 1). It is almost as if Mr Regan knew the outcome before Lord Nimmo Smith.

(In fact the ebt to Tor Andre Flo had a side letter dated 23 November and it related to a tax arrangement that had not been used correctly (using Regan’s own words) The irregular ebt for Ronald De Boer with a side letter of 30 August was placed beyond the scope of the Commission because in spite of it meeting the criteria specified by Harper MacLeod in March 2012 asking to be provided with ALL ebts and side letters and any other related documentation from July 1998 to date (including the HMRC letter of Feb 2011 that fully demonstrated that those particular ebts under  the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT) were not used correctly) and so were unlawful, NONE  of that documentation was  provided when requested.

This enabled Lord Nimmo Smith to state in para 107 of his Decision “while there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate” which is a statement he could not have made had he had all the requested documentation denied to him either by dishonesty or negligence during the preparation of his Commission.

How would he have had to judge one wonders if deception and dishonesty was indeed the factor we now ken that it is?


What exactly were the consequences of the failure to provide Lord Nimmo Smith with the required documentation?

It is stated in the Decision (Annex 1 para 104) that the Inquiry proceeded on the basis that the EBT arrangements (by which it meant the MGMRT ebts) were “lawful”. As it transpired the outcome of the FTT decision announced in November 2012 was that the MGMRT ebts indeed were (although this is still under appeal by HMRC.)

However, because Lord Nimmo Smith treated the MGMRT and the Earlier Trust (REBT) as one and the same, (para 35 of Decision) this meant that the Inquiry failed to distinguish between the two trusts and necessarily treated the Earlier Trust as also being lawful (without however having properly investigated its operation). However, the MGMRT and the earlier REBT were two separate trusts and there was no necessary reason to treat them as one and the same. Had evidence relating to the REBT been produced and examined, the Inquiry could hardly have treated them) as “continuous” or allowed Lord Nimmo Smith to say “we are not aware that they were different trusts“(Annex 1 para 35)

From the Decision (Annex 1 para 40), it would appear that the President of the SFA gave evidence only as to his knowledge of the MGMRT (not the REBT). We know now that the President of the SFA had knowledge of the Earlier Trust (sitting on the RFC remuneration policy committee that agreed to their use in 1999 and indeed was active in its setting up). Why the President failed to volunteer such crucial information is surely something he should now be asked?

By the time of the Inquiry, Rangers FC had already conceded liability in what has become known as “the Wee Tax Case” (which related to the now unlawful REBTs). Having regard to the wording at para 104 of the Decision (that is an echo of what Regan stressed to Alex Thomson about ebts) where it is said that to arrange financial affairs in a manner “within the law” is not a breach of the SFA/SPL Rules) the clear implication, must be that to arrange financial affairs in such a way that they are not lawful, must be a breach of the rules.

Given the admission of liability in the Wee Tax Case, payments made in respect of the REBT could not be “lawful” (to employ the language used in the Decision) or disputed, but Mr Regan presumably did not enquire too much into the history of the wee tax case before agreeing to talk to Alex Thomson.

It will be obvious from the above that the unlawful nature of REBTs had been masked from SPL lawyers and Lord Nimmo Smith as a result of:-

(a) the failure by the Administrators of Rangers FC to provide the documentation required of them;

(b) the failure of the President of the SFA to provide to the Inquiry his own knowledge of, involvement in, and presumably as a result of it, an appreciation of the differences between the two types of ebts and the consequences thereof for the investigation.  

Had the REBT been the sole subject of the Inquiry (rather than in effect not being examined at all) the following must have been different:-

(i)            the President could hardly have failed to give testimony of his knowledge and involvement;

(ii)          the Inquiry could not have held that the use of the REBT ebts was lawful;

(iv)       the “no sporting advantage” decision given in respect of the lawful ebts could not have been applied to unlawful ebts.

The real issue in the case of the unlawful ebts was not one of misregistration (Annex 1 para 104) which in turn justified the no sporting advantage decision in paras 105/106 but of paying players by an unlawful means which “constitutes such a fundamental defect (Annex 1 para 88) that the registration of players paid this way (i.e. unlawfully) must be treated as having been invalid from the outset.

Had the true nature of these early ebts been known to SPL lawyers the Terms of Reference of the Investigation would have to have addressed the wrong doing that Mr Regan was so keen to argue with Alex Thomson had not actually occurred (long before Lord Nimmo Smith agreed with him) or had President Ogilvie made the distinction in his testimony, it would have been impossible for Sandy Bryson’s to advise as he did regarding the effect on eligibility. He would have to have been asked questions about two types of ebts not one. Finally Lord Nimmo Smith could not have treated both as continuous.

Finally, given this incidence of non-disclosure by the Rangers Administrators (an identifiable trait of RFC dealings with authority from August 2000 to date), it is impossible to see how paragraph 107 (wherein it is stated that there is “no question of dishonesty”) can be allowed to remain unchallenged.

Of course the failure to supply the key evidence could just be an oversight given Rangers Administrators were hardly likely to have established of their own volition the importance of the documents to the enquiry and yet, had they been supplied, the enquiry could not have been based on the defence Stewart Regan was at such pains to stress in his interview with Alex Thomson at a time only 3 months after Mr Regan and Campbell Ogilvie had joined Craig Whyte for dinner as a result of an invite prompted by questions on the SFA UEFA Licence handling of the wee tax case , created by the very same unlawful ebts.

AT But as the governing body why did you not say to Rangers “look guys this this smells really bad, this looks bad you look (and you have admitted you have not paid your tax) you know we can’t do this, we have got to be open and above board, it looks bad.

SR Well think you need to look at what is legal and above board. At the time the club, were in dispute with HMRC. There was a tax case ongoing the new owner was in discussion with HMRC. In fact he has made comments and the club have made comments to that effect and because the amount was not crystallised under UEFA guidelines, whilst ever it’s in dispute it’s not classed as overdue.

AT Sometimes

SR So you need to separate out the licensing requirement, which is what the Licensing Committee did, from the tax that was owed to HMRC which is as we know what is still ongoing.

Mr Regan was not being accurate here.  The Big Tax case was in dispute and the bill has not crystallised as a result. However the wee tax case crystallised in mid June 2011 and at 30th June 2011, the UEFA licence checkpoint under Article 66 of UEFA FFP, did not meet the conditions to excuse it as being an overdue payable to HMRC. Quite how the SFA handled the processing of the Article 66 submission from RFC is subject to a resolution asking UEFA to investigate put to the Celtic AGM in November 2013 which is still in progress. As has been mentioned twice before Mr Regan has either been kept in the dark or was being less than honest with Alex Thomson. Interestingly Andrew Dickson who has been at Rangers in various administration and executive capacity since 1991 sat on 3 of the four UEFA Licensing Committee meetings during 2011. He may of course have excused himself from any discussions on this matter as the rules allowed, but was a full explanation why he did so, if indeed he did, offered? Would such an explanation have enlightened Mr Regan of what he was dealing with?

AT Sometimes things can be within the rules but from a PR point of view, indeed from a moral point of view, hate to introduce morality to football but can be the wrong thing to do. You would accept that?

SR Well I think that football around the world is going through a difficult time, clubs are in difficult financial circumstances, not just in Scotland, you look down into England and look at the clubs in Administration at the moment. You know Portsmouth and Port Vale in recent times and I think Plymouth is as well again. As far as that is concerned you know that indicates that clubs are living from hand to mouth and there are deals being done all the time with HMRC, payment plans being agreed. There is huge amounts of debt in football.

AT I’m just inviting you to accept that sometimes things can be within the rules but just look bad because morally, they are bad.

ST I think when taxes aren’t paid ehm VAT in particular, National Insurance Contributions of course that’s bad and I think we accept that and we know that in the current regime there is evidence to suggest that Rangers has not paid its taxes since Mr Whyte took over the club. That’s wrong that is against the spirit of the game and certainly we would look to deal with that and stamp out that type of behaviour which is not acting with integrity.

If Carlsberg did irony!

End of Interview.

The Hard Not to Believe Conclusions

There is always the danger in examining anything of finding what you want to be there rather than what is there and it is a danger any writer has to be aware of, but given the responses from Harper MacLeod on TSFM and the total lack of response from the SPFL and SFA when being informed of the missing evidence along with what has been written here it is hard not to conclude that the Lord Nimmo Smith Inquiry was deliberately set up in such a way as to produce two results

  • The minimising of the wrongful behaviour that had taken place from 1999 to 2012 when The Commission sat
  • The avoidance of the consequences of admitting that serious wrongdoing in the form of illegal payments had been made via irregular EBTs, which consequently made the players involved ineligible from the outset, making the Bryson ruling inapplicable in those cases with the consequences of that ineligibility on trophies and remuneration won.

The reader will find it hard not to conclude that either

  • there was a huge screw up by the SPL lawyers charged to set up the Commission which they might be able to defend
  • or
  • Vital knowledge was concealed within the SFA itself in order to achieve the above two results and
  • This knowledge was deliberately concealed because had it not been The Inquiry could not have come to the conclusion it did on player eligibility, not only because unlawful ebts were used in early instances, but also because the deliberate concealment from HMRC of the side letters to De Boer and Flo, the former also kept from Harper and MacLeod, suggests Rangers knew all along and in 2005 in particular that what they were doing since 2000 was morally wrong and against the spirit of the game. It perhaps also explains why HMRC is determined to push an appeal all the way.
  • This failure to supply all documents meant that the line being taken by Mr Regan in March 2012, when the Commission was being set up into the use of ebts and failure to register them with the SFA, came to fulfilment in the Decision of Lord Nimmo Smith himself, achieving the two aims suggested above.

Given that Harper MacLeod have said they passed on to the SFA in September 2014 the evidence kept from them by Rangers Administrators, has Stewart Regan spoken to either Ogilvie or Dickson since then about keeping him in the dark? Or did he know all along?

Of course these hard to believe conclusions could be discounted as delusional ramblings if either the SFA or SPFL were to say they would investigate the evidence kept from Harper MacLeod. It would also help if only one of the thirteen main stream journalists would look at the hard copy of the concealed documents they were provided with, because until someone who values sporting integrity does, the stench of corruption will hang over Scottish football for years to reek out anytime the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission is used as a justification for anything that it contains.

Annex One – Extracts from Lord Nimmo Smith Decision

[5] Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in

breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed;


Outline of the Scheme


[35] As we have said, a controlling interest in Oldco was held by David Murray through the medium of Murray MHL Limited, part of the Murray Group of companies. Murray Group Management Limited (MGM) provided management services to the companies of the Murray Group. By deed dated 20 April 2001 MGM set up the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (the MGMRT). (We note that the MGMRT was preceded by the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust, but we are not aware that they were different trusts. We shall treat them as a continuous trust, which we shall refer to throughout as the MGMRT.)


[40] Mr Ogilvie learnt about the existence of the MGMRT in about 2001 or 2002, because a contribution was made for his benefit. He understood that this was non-contractual. Although as a result he knew about the existence of the MGMRT, he did not know any details of it. He subsequently became aware, while he remained director of Oldco, that contributions were being made to the MGMRT in respect of players. He assumed that these were made in respect of the players’ playing football, which was the primary function for which they were employed and remunerated. He had no involvement in the organisation or management of Oldco’s contributions to the MGMRT, whether for players or otherwise. He said:

“I assumed that all contributions to the Trust were being made legally, and that any relevant football regulations were being complied with. I do not recall contributions to the Trust being discussed in any detail, if at all, at Board meetings. In any event, Board meetings had become less and less frequent by my later years at Rangers.”

He also said: “Nothing to do with the contributions being made to the Trust fell within the scope of my remit at Rangers”.

However it should be noted that Mr Ogilvie was a member of the board of directors who approved the statutory accounts of Oldco which disclosed very substantial payments made under the EBT arrangements.


[88] In our opinion, this was a correct decision by Mr McKenzie. There is every reason why the rules of the SFA and the SPL relating to registration should be construed and applied consistently with each other. Mr Bryson’s evidence about the position of the SFA in this regard was clear. In our view, the Rules of the SPL, which admit of a construction consistent with those of the SFA, should be given that construction. All parties’ concerned – clubs, players and footballing authorities – should be able to proceed on the faith of an official register. This means that a player’s registration should generally be treated as standing unless and until revoked. There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches. There was therefore no breach of SPL Rule D1.11.


[104] As we have already explained, in our view the purpose of the Rules applicable to Issues 1 to 3 is to promote the sporting integrity of the game. These rules are not designed as any form of financial regulation of football, analogous to the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations. Thus it is not the purpose of the Rules to regulate how one football club may seek to gain financial and sporting advantage over others. Obviously, a successful club is able to generate more income from gate money, sponsorship, advertising, sale of branded goods and so on, and is consequently able to offer greater financial rewards to its manager and players, in the hope of even more success. Nor is it a breach of SPL or SFA Rules for a club to arrange its affairs – within the law – so as to minimise its tax liabilities. The Tax Tribunal has held (subject to appeal) that Oldco was acting within the law in setting up and operating the EBT scheme. The SPL presented no argument to challenge the decision of the majority of the Tax Tribunal and Mr McKenzie stated expressly that for all purposes of this Commission’s Inquiry and Determination the SPL accepted that decision as it stood, without regard to any possible appeal by HMRC. Accordingly we proceed on the basis that the EBT arrangements were lawful. What we are concerned with is the fact that the side-letters issued to the Specified Players, in the course of the operation of the EBT scheme, were not disclosed to the SPL and the SFA as required by their respective Rules.

[105] It seems appropriate in the first place to consider whether such breach by non-disclosure conferred any competitive advantage on Rangers FC. Given that we have held that Rangers FC did not breach Rule D1.11 by playing ineligible players, it did not secure any direct competitive advantage in that respect. If the breach of the rules by non-disclosure of the side-letters conferred any competitive advantage, that could only have been an indirect one. Although it is clear to us from Mr Odam’s evidence that Oldco’s failure to disclose the side-letters to the SPL and the SFA was at least partly motivated by a wish not to risk prejudicing the tax advantages of the EBT scheme, we are unable to reach the conclusion that this led to any competitive advantage. There was no evidence before us as to whether any other members of the SPL used similar EBT schemes, or the effect of their doing so. Moreover, we have received no evidence from which we could possibly say that Oldco could not or would not have entered into the EBT arrangements with players if it had been required to comply with the requirement to disclose the arrangements as part of the players’ full financial entitlement or as giving rise to payment to players. It is entirely possible that the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed to the SPL and SFA without prejudicing the argument – accepted by the majority of the Tax Tribunal at paragraph 232 of their decision – that such arrangements, resulting in loans made to the players, did not give rise to payments absolutely or unreservedly held for or to the order of the individual players. On that basis, the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed as contractual arrangements giving rise to a facility for the player to receive loans, and there would have been no breach of the disclosure rules.

[106] We therefore proceed on the basis that the breach of the rules relating to disclosure did not give rise to any sporting advantage, direct or indirect. We do not therefore propose to consider those sanctions which are of a sporting nature.

[107] We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June 2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the side letters need not be or should not be disclosed. No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

Auldheid  Feb 2015

About the author

Auldheid author

Celtic fan from Glasgow living mostly in Spain. A contributor to several websites, discussion groups and blogs, and a member of the Resolution 12 Celtic shareholders' group. Committed to sporting integrity, good governance, and the idea that football is interdependent. We all need each other in the game.

5,190 Comments so far

scapaflowPosted on8:01 pm - Apr 24, 2015

StevieBC says:
April 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Bosman: The Sequel, coming to a football association near you?

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nawlitePosted on8:10 pm - Apr 24, 2015

I see at the bottom of that Mike Ashley appeal piece, the Telegraph blithely reports that TRFC* are shortly to get another £1.5m loan from T3B. I haven’t seen that reported anywhere else, but they say it so matter of factly as if it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

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Carfins FinestPosted on8:18 pm - Apr 24, 2015

nawlite says:

April 24, 2015 at 8:10 pm

I see at the bottom of that Mike Ashley appeal piece, the Telegraph blithely reports that TRFC* are shortly to get another £1.5m loan from T3B. I haven’t seen that reported anywhere else, but they say it so matter of factly as if it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
…and the £1.5 million loan will apparently see them through to the land of milk and honey….

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theredpillPosted on8:24 pm - Apr 24, 2015

I have spent a lot of time to convince friends on all sides this
is not a a Celtic site so ffs can we drop this TSFM pleaseeeee
end the ref,game soon as possible.

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HighlanderPosted on8:24 pm - Apr 24, 2015

The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty? says:
April 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm

“At today’s SPFL general meeting, member clubs approved amendments to rules regarding the insolvency of clubs.

Currently, any club suffering an insolvency event is deducted 15 points (unless it is such a club’s second insolvency event within five years, in which case the deduction is 25 points).

Today’s amendment of SPFL Rules was approved overwhelmingly by clubs and has the following effects:

– Insolvency events that are part of the same insolvency process would be treated as a single deductible insolvency event

– Clubs subject to a deductible insolvency event would have imposed fixed deductions of 15 points immediately, plus a further five points in the immediately following season (unless it is such club’s second insolvency event within five years, in which case the immediate points deduction would be 25 points, with a further 15 points deducted in the immediately following season).”


Insolvency of clubs you say, Mr SPFL?

But but but I was always taught clubs were ethereal floaty things impervious to liquidation, death, or any other life-ending events known to mankind!

Surely only companies suffer insolvencies? Doh! Schoolboy error by the SPFL methinks. 🙄

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Cluster OnePosted on8:26 pm - Apr 24, 2015

The Mike Ashley appeal piece.
or he could be attempting to test the limits of the SFA’s ability to control his influence on Rangers.
Will the Livingston Director be looking at this closely

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Famous songPosted on8:36 pm - Apr 24, 2015

Nawlite, I noticed the apparent insouciance with which the £1.5 million was introduced. However, the piece makes clear that this is from ‘a consortium of wealthy Rangers supporters.’ Presumably, as opposed to other, equally well heeled, consortia. This is Roddy Forsyth, after all. The money is only until ‘season income for 2015-6 begins to flow into the Ibrox coffers.’
Assuming they pay off the £1.5 + £1.5 + £5m = £8m, the said income won’t see them very far into the next season: the 2015 bit, perhaps, but certainly not into the 2016 portion.
This set me to thinking, however: even the Alloa Advertiser doesn’t refer to ‘the Indodrill coffers.’ Our chairman frequently travels by plane, but is never said to ‘jet in.’ And, after we won the SFL Division 3 title, we weren’t routinely referred to as ‘the champions’ during the subsequent season.
There again, we have a genuine and uninterrupted history stretching back to 1878. Perhaps as a result of not needing lamb induced reassurance every five minutes, however misplaced.
When the history of this decidedly weird era of delusion comes to be written… Ach, no, I’ll leave it to the historians.

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easyJamboPosted on8:44 pm - Apr 24, 2015

The RSL is reporting that RIFC has been knocked back by ISDX


No ISDX For Rangers

The RSL understands that RIFC PLC has been refused a listing on the ISDX.

The toxicity of the club due to heightened investor activism and inability to meet exchange crtieria are contributory factors. Given the ISDX is considered to have a low suitability threshold in relation to other exchanges, this is a further blow to the new board’s credibility.

“We are not a market for AIM rejects” the ISDX said.

As one City observer said, this is like being refused entry into a drive thru at McDonalds.

More to follow…
Refused entry to McDonalds, indeed 🙂

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StevieBCPosted on8:54 pm - Apr 24, 2015

easyJambo says:
April 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

“We are not a market for AIM rejects” the ISDX said…

Oooft…come on ref, that’s a low blow…! 😯

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GoosyGoosyPosted on10:30 pm - Apr 24, 2015

StevieBC says:
April 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm
Corrupt official says:
April 24, 2015 at 7:47 pm
Mike Ashley has appealed against the dual interest outcome on the fly.
“Mike Ashley’s legal team have taken on the Scottish Football Association over the £7500 fine imposed on the Newcastle United owner for breaching rules on dual ownership through his interest in Rangers…”
That is interesting, [and no refs involved !]
I would hazard a guess that Ashley’s legal team cost him much more than £7,500 a day.
So what’s his game ?
Is he initially following due process – to thereafter appeal externally on the grounds that this is a restriction of trade ? Maybe he’s looking to prod the SFA rules and to test if there is an advantage for him to exploit ?
I hope he is taking on the SFA`s nonsense policy christened the Bryson Rule by TSFM
MA cannot be fined retrospectively for having dual interest in 2 clubs since the offence was not an offence until the date that it was discovered. That date was the date on which the £7,500 fine was issued

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scapaflowPosted on11:41 pm - Apr 24, 2015

GoosyGoosy says:
April 24, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Ashley isn’t contesting this because he is a good guy. This could have horrendous ramifications that go way beyond Scottish Football. European Football as a whole, may well end up with cause to rue their failure to sort out, the feckless feckwits at Hampden 😈

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mmatim88Posted on3:00 am - Apr 25, 2015

I haven’t posted since the RTC days, mostly because there are a lot more intelligent people on here say what I was thinking, more succinctly than I probably could have. I live in Canada a Canadian son of two expat Scots,my father from a Celtic supporting family and my mother from a Rangers supporting family so I am not a bigot (dislike Rangers as an organization) no religious affiliation. I am a season ticket holder at CP, basically just a donation to the club I love so obviously I am biased about what happened Sunday.
I have no problem with the fact that ICT won on Sunday, over the 120 minutes they were the better team. Good luck to them and Falkirk both. I thought I would post because I cannot believe the hypocrisy of some the posters on this site and the wider scottish football community as a whole. My understanding of this site was that it was a platform for supporters of all clubs to challenge what they thought/think is a corruption within the administration of “their” game. Yet on Monday when Celtic dared ask for clarification on a monumental error they are “paranoid” and out of order to think that something else could have possibly taken place. Supporters of every club in Scotland have said the SFA is bent yet when Celtic decides to inquire about a horrendous erro in order to appease their supporters they are just whiners. How do you ever hope to clean up scottish football if you still tow the party line just because of your dislike for other clubs?
And to be clear on the penalty I don’t think it was some lodge conspiracy or “operation stop the treble” imho it was 1 man with a deep dislike for rival football club that just didn’t give them a call.

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FisianiPosted on8:02 am - Apr 25, 2015

Have I got this correct? The 3B gave a 1,500,000 pound unsecured loan a month ago. all gone. There is unconfirmed talk they have given another 1,500,000 unsecured loan which will last another month. Season tickets to last till May 2016 will generate 12,000,000. Once the 3B and Ashley loans are repaid there is just 4,000,000 which will be gone on expenses in May, June July and August. Trading insolvent by September. Why would anyone be silly enough to buy a season ticket which will be useless after September and no recompense. Oh and still paying $278,000 a month on rent and all the gardeners exorbitant wages and if promoted owe NU 500,000.

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neepheidPosted on8:06 am - Apr 25, 2015

From the Herald- http://t.co/yI0WAciNpR

“RANGERS are yet to apply for listing on the ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange market, three weeks after the club’s shares were delisted from the prestigious AIM stock exchange.”

Looks like unlisted status suits King quite nicely, thanks.

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Danish PastryPosted on8:14 am - Apr 25, 2015

Ah, news of another day in Nouvion via the medium of The Daily Flashing Bedknobs in London.

Since ‘Ribbing the Bonk’ is now out of the question, the well-off supporters of the resistance have to dig deep once again. But will they have enough left after they pay the ransom for Cafe Rene? (Two months due?). Meanwhile Hr Otto Reganflick is scheming new punishments in his dungeon, and Hr Neil Klinkerhofen insists he is working in the best interests of the local population so orders more champagne for the chateau. Just as well the local press is doing it’s usual Spirit of Nouvion pieces to cheer up the readers with lamb dressed up as mutton in the guise of Madame Edith (Who is a stick on for the play-offs, allegedly, thanks to an honest mistake!)

But all is not lost, Monsieur ‘Rene’ Ashley (who ‘does not have any influence in Nouvion’ and who does not even own Cafe Rene) has the original painting in his possesion; and, rumour has it, more than one valuable painting! They will come in handy ‘after the war’…


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darkmoonPosted on8:25 am - Apr 25, 2015

Fisiani says:
April 25, 2015 at 8:02 am
I am a St Mirren supporter and pretty much resigned to going down now; and you know what- I would rather go straight down with our heads held high accepting we were the worst team this season than have to play Rangers in the playoff. Whatever team plays them will be up against against a team that is probably insolvent and it’s a disgrace.

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GabbyPosted on10:49 am - Apr 25, 2015

Very excited. Have just confirmed my flights from Brisbane for the Scottish Cup Final. I have 2 days in Inverness to visit friends then 3 days jn Glasgow

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John ClarkPosted on10:53 am - Apr 25, 2015

just a wee after-thought: will the COMPLIANCE officer be disciplined for failng to comply with the terms of remit, by butting in half-arsed when he clearly had no jurisdiction?
Will his defence be that he was lied to en masse by all the officials?
Or will not a word be said, either by the SFA or,if he values his job, by him.
I don’t know the man. But he’s either a patsy,happy enough to be made to look foolish,or compliant enough to bend to the wishes of his employers that the whole matter be buriecd as quickly as possible.
This is ANZAC day, and I was privileged to attend a local schools’ remembrance service this morning (two cousins of my mum fought at Gallipoli ( not with the Anzacs, of course, but with British regiments)).
And I listened to stirring words like ‘honour’, ‘sacrifice’ , ‘truth’ ‘justice’.- and my mind strayed to SDM and the governance of Scottish football as embodying the very opposite of those ideals.

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AllyjamboPosted on10:58 am - Apr 25, 2015

Fisiani says:
April 25, 2015 at 8:02 am

I doubt the season ticket money will all be available by the May payday, and final salaries, with possible add ons, will have to be paid, too, for those soon to be out of contract players (and who knows what might be built into their contracts?). There will be fairly hefty costs involved in the play-offs, and if they achieve the desperately needed promotion, their play-off profit will be gobbled up by Newcastle United. Promotion would, no doubt, mean bonuses, maybe a fair bit even without promotion, so the May wage bill might be the highest yet.

How soon, too, will the ST income become available? I seem to remember that last year they were desperate for them to be paid for in cash as they would only get the money paid by direct debit on a month to month, or game by game, basis, so there might not be any available for the May salaries.

Of course, everything might go so very well for them over the next couple of months: promotion, big investment, the onerous contracts are found to be illegal…Mike Ashley contracts Rangersitis 🙄

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AllyjamboPosted on11:40 am - Apr 25, 2015

John Clark says:
April 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

I’m watching Aussie football at the moment, and have been moved by the minutes silence and playing of the last post in memory of those brave men. The Gallipoli commemorations are particularly poignant for me, as it was there that my grandfather gained his DCM, and the mustard gas that eventually cost him his life, but not before he fathered my father (in 1919), which is a good job for me!

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adam812Posted on11:55 am - Apr 25, 2015

Am I right about this? A player dives and gets his team a penalty. I appreciate it is not always clear it was a dive however the referee saw the incident but got it wrong so the Compliance Officer can do nothing about it?

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ekt1mPosted on12:13 pm - Apr 25, 2015

JC @10.53am. I will be very surprised if the CO is still in position 2 weeks from now. He has been completely undermined by the SFA and the DP. I am at a loss to understand how he could intervene in the Jason Talbot incident but not in the Meekings one. Such is the omnishambles on the 6th floor.

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adam812Posted on12:18 pm - Apr 25, 2015

If a player is sent off for handling and preventing a certain goal but it is subsequently clear the ball hit him on the face will appeals against the dismissal be turned down because the referee saw the incident?

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tamjartmarquezPosted on12:21 pm - Apr 25, 2015

A good resume of the week by Tam & Stuart. 😎

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John ClarkPosted on12:33 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Allyjambo says @11.40 a.m.
‘….not before he fathered my father….which is a good job for me!)
And for us on this blog, if I may say so.

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paulsatimPosted on12:43 pm - Apr 25, 2015

John Clark says:
April 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Beat me to it JC!

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oddjobPosted on12:45 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Adam812 says

April 25 2015 @ 1155am

I think you will find that such an incident occurred earlier this season, when Celtic visited St. Johnstone.
Derk Boeriggter went down in the box and Celtic were awarded a penalty.
The player was subsequently cited by the Compliance Officer and received a ban for”causing the referee to make an incorrect decision”, or words to that effect.

If I remember correctly, the player admitted he dived, and no appeal was made.

He therefore received a ban for something that would normally have been a yellow card offence.

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John ClarkPosted on1:26 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Gabby says @ 10.49 a.m
‘……..have just confirmed my flights from Brisbane for the Scottish Cup final…’
If I were an entirely free agent, I’d get over the Gateway Bridge to buy you a drink in the airport.
You must take the wish for the deed, though, because I’m not likely to be able to do that.
But if you would care to, I might get permission frae Mrs C to visit, say, the Aquila in Eagle St, or the Plough Inn in Southbank between now and then?
Although I should perhaps say that Falkirk was the team supported by my favourite cousin’s now sadly deceased husband!

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John ClarkPosted on1:43 pm - Apr 25, 2015

scarecrow666 @1.08 p.m.
‘….over this latest bungle..’
It is not so much the refereeing ‘ mistake’ that was called into question. It was the intervention of the CO on the basis that no match official had seen the incident, only to discover that, all of a sudden, the CO had no right to intervene because the incident had infact been sen and decided upon by the match officials.
At the very,very least, there was a monumental cock-up.
And with The SFA’s track record of 5- way lying,the onus of proving themselves innocent of hanky bloody panky again, to get themselves out of a mess is firmly on theor shoulders.
They have lied to us before.
We wpuld be as gullible as purchasets of season tickets for Ibrox if we simpy accepted anything they say.

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John ClarkPosted on1:54 pm - Apr 25, 2015

dedicated readers will lnow that I am conducting an experiment into establishing the precise ratio between Fat Yaks consumed, clarity of thought, and feckin typos!
My excuse this late hour is,as ever, this daft wee keyboard thingy on this ‘tablet’.
I do apologise.
And only two Fat Yaks have been harmed so far,at 10.47 pm Brisbane time. Along with the merest drop of Johnny Walker Red Label (A $ 48 per litre bottle
Not cheap here, having a wee jildy!

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AllyjamboPosted on1:55 pm - Apr 25, 2015

John Clark says:
April 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for these kind words, John. Needless to say I value your, and so many other’s, posts very highly indeed. Sadly, there are some who are no longer with us and are greatly missed.

It is in these times of remembering the fallen, of all nationalities, that we should realise that we live in the most fortunate of times; while remembering that not all are as fortunate to be able to enjoy them.

Hope you will be downing a few beers today, and enjoying the Aussie sun with your family 🙂 Soon be autumn there, imagine having to switch off the air con! Best come on home to a Scottish summer…

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ekt1mPosted on1:59 pm - Apr 25, 2015

JC @ 1.43pm. Further to my previous post at 12.13pm. today, If the referee has seen the incident then no action by the CO is allowed under his remit, By what rule was he allowed to increase the yellow card issued by the official at the time to a red and a suspension to Livingstone’s Jason Talbot. This flies in the face of everything i’m reading and hearing about the CO’s ability to intervene, What is it I am failing to grasp about this whole “clusterf**k? Can anyone explain. Many thanks.

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AllyjamboPosted on2:01 pm - Apr 25, 2015

paulsatim says:
April 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Thank you too, Paul. Got a right beamer here 😳

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Eoinel JessiPosted on2:11 pm - Apr 25, 2015

The question of refereeing arose over a few light ales in the pub last night. The following was suggested as a means of improving standards and increasing credibility: put the jobs out to tender to any referee in the EU.

Why do referees have to be Scottish? We have foreign players and coaches so why not officials? Are we bound by FIFA and/or UEFA guidelines? Did we need to apply for permission when we got foreign refs in (Israeli?) during the strike a few years back?

If every association had a tendering process for officiating I suppose, in time, the best refs would gravitate towards the EPL, La Liga, Serie A and so on. So, in a competitive marketplace could Scotland attract a better standard of referee than it has at present? It’s an interesting question. Is the current standard commensurate with the rest of Scottish football in terms of players, money, number of fans etc? I happen to think Alan Muir is a particularly terrible referee. Is he any worse at his job than any number of players and managers in the SPL though? I’m not sure.

There is a perception that refereeing in Scotland is a bit of an old boy network where “who you know” seems to carry more weight than “what you know.” Tendering would remove that perception, and even if it failed to raise standards at least referees from Belgium/Sweden/Germany/wherever could make their “honest mistakes” free from the usual conspiracy guff.

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@ModgePKRPosted on2:11 pm - Apr 25, 2015

John Clark says:
April 25, 2015 at 10:53 am
just a wee after-thought: will the COMPLIANCE officer be disciplined for failng to comply with the terms of remit, by butting in half-arsed when he clearly had no jurisdiction?
Will his defence be that he was lied to en masse by all the officials?
Or will not a word be said, either by the SFA or,if he values his job, by him.
I don’t know the man. But he’s either a patsy,happy enough to be made to look foolish,or compliant enough to bend to the wishes of his employers that the whole matter be buriecd as quickly as possible.

It’s not the CO who’s to blame here, it’s the JP.

The match officials saw the incident, just not an offence, which is why the CO had to act when an offence was brought to his attention. As far as I can see, the CO played this one by the book.

There is nothing in the JP Protocols to suggest that seeing an incident means that missing an offence within that incident becomes irrelevant. In fact, to suggest such a thing not only ignores precedent but would render the entire retrospective punishment idea moot as the sole point of retrospective punishment is to judge those offences missed by the match officials.

The key word is “offence”, not “incident” and Protocal 13.4 states:

13.4.1 The Compliance Officer may refer the following matters to Fast Track
Proceedings: Alleged Sending-Off offences at a match (as defined in Section 3 of
Annex C hereto) not seen by match officials, which are brought to
the attention of the Compliance Officer by whatever means

The match officials didn’t see any offence therefore the CO was right to act when one was brought to his attention after the match.

It is my opinion that the JP have really messed this up but questions have to be asked of the SFA as to who’s correct here. Either the previous cases were dealt with incorrectly and players were punished outwith the rules, or the JP have misunderstood the rules and had no remit to dismiss the case without consideration.

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nawlitePosted on2:18 pm - Apr 25, 2015

ekt1m says:

April 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm
If you look at my recent posts on this, you’ll see that Darryl Broadfoot of the SFA used the Jason Talbot precedent as ‘evidence’ that the CO was right (indeed, “compelled” under the SFA’s Judicial Protocol!) to become involved in the Meekings case. Immediately on seeing yesterday that the Meekings review panel had thrown the case out because the CO shouldn’t become involved if already dealt with by the officials, I emailed him again for an explanation. He’s taking a little longer to reply this time.

Incidentally, for those asking for the Celtic fans on here to drop this issue (thinking it’s continuing because it was given against Celtic) a) I’m not a Celtic supporter and b) the SFA’s mishandling of the fallout over the decision has been so poor that it once again raises questions over their ability to govern, to deflect, to misdirect etc.

The disparity between the handling of the Talbot and Meekings cases is just inexplicable imo and I’m really keen to see how DB explains it to me. I really hope some Livi-supporting poster(s) is drawing that disparity to the club’s attention, so they can query it (publicly, please) as they’re more likely to receive a response.

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AllyjamboPosted on2:21 pm - Apr 25, 2015

In light of the ongoing discussions over the pathetic piece of refereeing in the cup semi, I thought I’d remind everyone, or let our younger viewers know, of something that shows it was far from the most ludicrous piece of refereeing Scotland has ever seen, and that such blatant offences can go un-noticed.

Dundee United and Motherwell supporters will remember, I’m sure, the game at Tannadice where United scored, with the ball hitting the net but somehow bouncing out, upon which a ‘Well player caught it, then turned and punted the ball up towards the centre circle. Not only did the ref and linesman not give the goal, they didn’t even give the penalty!

There was no hint of bias (it didn’t affect the OF) and, not surprisingly, what little media coverage there was, concentrated on the humorous element. United won, 3-1, I think, so no harm done to the result, but, just wanted to show that Sunday’s bloomer wasn’t even close to being the craziest ever! (Not even sure this example is the craziest ever)

I hope one of our clever techy types can come up with a utube video of it 🙂

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nawlitePosted on2:27 pm - Apr 25, 2015

@ModgePKR says:

April 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Spot on!

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Corrupt officialPosted on2:32 pm - Apr 25, 2015

I think that the CO had every right to intervene. Not only is there precedent, but there is the “Unsighted” statement from the referee high heid yin Fleming to quote in defence of his involvement.
Camera footage was almost instantly available to not only show “unsighted” was not the case, but that it also appeared to be discussed via comms.
John Fleming’s statement is at the root of this cluster, and he must clarify if this was reported to him by officials, or if he invented it. It is one or t’other
WRT the CO precedents already shown in previous posts, the whispers that ICT would field Meekings regardless of any decision, challenging Bryson’s law, and rendering the SFA toothless is ample explanation as to his withdrawal from what was a perfectly legitimate position which he had the power to uphold.

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oddjobPosted on2:38 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Allyjambo says

April 25 2015. @ 2.21pm

That really was an incredible incident, which I remember. Nobody could believe it.

One point, though, I thought it was United against Patrick Thistle.

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AllyjamboPosted on2:46 pm - Apr 25, 2015

oddjob says:
April 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm

That really was an incredible incident, which I remember. Nobody could believe it.

One point, though, I thought it was United against Patrick Thistle.

You could be right, and I reckon the ref had as much idea as me who was playing that day 😆

Was well worth it though, what a great football moment that was! Though it wouldn’t have been so funny if the end result was different 😕

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alexander276Posted on2:49 pm - Apr 25, 2015

This is my third and final! attempt to get clarification (Hoping some journalist reads the discussion). What did the 6 officials see? Now it appears they saw something and distinction seems to be that they saw something that they misinterpreted and thereby (and wrongly)saw no offence. However it is also possible that they did see a ball hit a hand but decided it was involuntary and was not an offence. In this light the player was not ‘lucky’ not to be penalised but the officials had concluded there was no offence.
These two situations are different. Was the player lucky because the offence was missed or did the officials make a decision (with which some would disagree). Is a ball hitting a hand ALWAYS an offence?Despite all the noise of the past week this has not been illuminated.

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nawlitePosted on2:50 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Allyjambo says:

April 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm
Found it. not great quality in those days (the video, that is, before United fans give me stick!)

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oddjobPosted on2:52 pm - Apr 25, 2015


It could be either or.
Maybe I’m mixing my clarets up with my ambers !!

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ekt1mPosted on2:58 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Nawlite @2.18pm. In full agreement with your post. Do you think that CFC officials will take this further with the SFA (the Talbot incident) for clarification,? Look forward to your reply from DB. EDIT, ModgePKR @”2.11pm. On the face of it, it looks like the JP’s remit was to get the SFA out of jail, which they conveniently obliged.

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@ModgePKRPosted on3:01 pm - Apr 25, 2015


I’ll to summarise as I see it:

The match officials “saw” the ball hit Meekings’ head.
Therefore, no decision was necessary. (Exactly the same as no decision being necessary if a defender heads the ball out of play or back to the goalkeeper etc).
Therefore, the match officials did not see any offence.
TV evidence clearly shows an offence, hence the CO referring the matter to the JP.
The JP then dismissed the case, believing they had no remit to review the offence.

If the referee had decided it was a non-deliberate handball, then the CO would have had no power to act as he can’t overrule or challenge a referee’s decision. He can ONLY intervene when a sending off offence WAS NOT SEEN by the officials.

The player was lucky as (a) the offence was missed and (b) the JP have dismissed the case without reviewing it, something I don’t believe is in their power to do.

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John ClarkPosted on3:03 pm - Apr 25, 2015

@modgePKR says@2.11 p.m.
Not quite sure of the point you are making.
In their further statement on Friday, the JP said they Accepted that the CO had had no ‘right’ to get involved.
Are you saying that he did? That he can over-ride the actual decision of the referee who, one way or another, saw the ‘incident’ but deemed that it was not an offence?
I’m probably misunderstanding you.
But I would say that whoevet drafted the JP protocol would get’ nul points’ from me as any kind
of legislator!

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woodsteinPosted on3:10 pm - Apr 25, 2015

valentinesclown says:

April 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

That article is excellent,it captures exactly what is wrong with the media not just in Scotland but in the UK.

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Methilhill StrollerPosted on3:11 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Just checking up on latest news on BBC Sport who just reported ICT officials frantically trying to contact SFA because Josh Meekins is on SFA list of suspended players for today and ICT don’t think he is banned?

Somebody asked if something can happen to stop ref gate so here you are.

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AllyjamboPosted on3:12 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Thanks for the video, nawlite. Strangely enough, though, I’m not sure that is the game I was talking about. I have a picture in my mind of an incident at Tannadice with the ‘goal’ being scored at the opposite end, in terms of the camera position. The video you show was of Partick v United at Firhill, and I am almost certain it was Motherwell at Tannadice. The video wasn’t even familiar to me and what I have in mind was a match featured in either BBC or STV’s highlights program, not the Monday night potted highlights that this appears to be.

It seems impossible it should happen twice to the same team, so I am probably mistaken, and it just goes to show how the memory gets a bit cloudy with time 😕

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John ClarkPosted on3:18 pm - Apr 25, 2015

And just reading Alexander, Oddjob and Nawlite-who could not love this blog!
We are guaranteed that whatever anyone says as a matter of personal reflection,, there will be a corrective challenge if someone thinks the reflection is not quite accurate.
And, importantly, a courteously expressed challenge, made in honesty.
I think that that whole ethos puts this blog into a category far above the more one-club fan blog.

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Jingso.JimsiePosted on3:20 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Methilhill Stroller says:
April 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm
Just checking up on latest news on BBC Sport who just reported ICT officials frantically trying to contact SFA because Josh Meekins is on SFA list of suspended players for today and ICT don’t think he is banned?

Somebody asked if something can happen to stop ref gate so here you are.

I was under the impression that suspensions incurred (or not!) in Scottish Cup games apply only to that competition, hence had Meekings been given a one match ban, he would have missed the next game in that competition, which would have been the final…

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upthehoopsPosted on3:21 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Is it wrong I get irked at my TV licence fee being used to fund an alleged St Mirren supporter giving nauseatingly biased match updates from Ibrox?

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@ModgePKRPosted on3:31 pm - Apr 25, 2015

John Clark says:
April 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm
@modgePKR says@2.11 p.m.
Not quite sure of the point you are making.
In their further statement on Friday, the JP said they Accepted that the CO had had no ‘right’ to get involved.

They are incorrect. They believe that because the officials “saw” the ball hit Meekings’ head, the CO has no power to intervene. However, the Protocol is clear that the CO must intervene if a sending off offence is missed. There is no limitation on WHY or HOW an offence was missed, so the suggestion that because the match officials viewed the incident means any offences they missed are not covered by the rules is wrong.

Are you saying that he did? That he can over-ride the actual decision of the referee who, one way or another, saw the ‘incident’ but deemed that it was not an offence?

No. The CO has no power to override or challenge a referees decision. However, no decision was made here as the referee did not see the offence. Therefore, the CO is obliged to act.

I suppose in a nutshell there are two interpretations of “missing an offence”. The first is where an official didn’t see ANYTHING. (e.g. let’s say he was facing the wrong way and a player headbutted someone behind his back). The second is where he sees SOMETHING, but not the actual offence (which is the case here; he thought the ball hit the head when replays showed it to be the hand).

We’re all agreed that the CO can get involved in the first case, right? Even the JP would have to accept that one 🙂

But in the second, the JP are saying because the offence happened within the line of sight of the officials, they can’t get involved regardless of whether an offence was missed or not. I believe precedent shows that to be incorrect. In addition to those precedents, the SFA have previously confirmed to Gerry McCulloch that, so long as the match officials did not see the “full extent” of the incident, then the CO could act.

The JP are completely in the wrong here, and we need to be asking questions of the SFA to get this on record. I appreciate nothing can happen to Meekings, but the rules should be clarified so we’re all clear on when the CO can / cannot intervene but, more importantly, there has to be additional support given to the JP so they know exactly what is in their powers to do. By dismissing the complaint incorrectly, they’ve essentially acted in the same way as simply refusing to review the offence – and the CO has no course of appeal in these cases!

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upthehoopsPosted on3:31 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Allyjambo says:

April 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm

AJ, the most famous, (or infamous) incident is the one at Firhill. IIRC it did not happen to Dundee Utd twice. Les Mottram the ref I think.

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AllyjamboPosted on3:33 pm - Apr 25, 2015

upthehoops says:
April 25, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Cheers uth, will have to clean the cobwebs out from between my ears 😕

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yourhavingalaughPosted on3:35 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Remember the Thistle game well,another puzzler was an old firm game at Ibrox when David Robertson hit a 25 yard blooter and it was dissallowed,Stv still had the game at 1.0 at half time with Gerry McNee announcing the score,he hadn’t even realised the ball had not been centered,the good old days of Scotsport,the leading sports programme of its day

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upthehoopsPosted on4:00 pm - Apr 25, 2015

A wee bit off topic but when I was listening to the Dundee v Celtic game last Wednesday I heard the Dundee anthem ‘up wae the bonnet’s’ playing before the game. I’ve just found out this song was recorded by Hector Nicol, who has also recorded songs for Hearts and Hibs. Did he do any more?

Edit: I feel these traditional anthems are very important for a club’s fanbase, character and identity, and I always love to hear them. As a Celtic fan I love the Glen Daly rendition of the Celtic song which the team takes the field to. I remember David Murray once bragging that every time he heard it was a reminder of just how far behind Rangers Celtic were. I’ll leave it at that!

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John ClarkPosted on4:04 pm - Apr 25, 2015

yourhavingalaugh@3.35 pm
The cry was ‘ Gerry,Gerry, what’s the score?’
The poor chap became a kind of embittered fellow after that, as I remember things.
Is he still around,these days?

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yourhavingalaughPosted on5:36 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Bumped into him a few times in Glasgow grumpy so & so,lives in Ireland now in Roy Keans neck. of the woods

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Methilhill StrollerPosted on5:36 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Jingo J
BBC Sport not clear why Meekins on list and did not specifically mention the Cup, on which I think you are right. ICT decided to play him anyway?

Could be another administration error – we shall see no doubt?

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Jingso.JimsiePosted on6:12 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Methil, he’s on the naughty list,right enough.
I’m on a horrible little tablet at the moment, so struggling to post a link. If you go to the SFA webpage, click on Disciplinary, then go to Current Suspensions (updated on 23.04), he appears on Page two as due a one match SPFL ban, presumably under the totting-up procedure.
Looks like an administration failure by ICT, and will allow the SFA to do what they’re good at…

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BarcabhoyPosted on6:22 pm - Apr 25, 2015

There’s a lot to be positive about in Scottish Football. I guess a mix of the big clubs doing well and improving , with some fairy tales of over achievement by smaller clubs , makes for a generally happy footballing nation.

Now if we had a decent TV deal, as opposed to an appalling one. A trusted and effective Ruling body would be nice , but we’re a long way away from that.
The good news is that these things are fixable . The bad news is that self serving interests are determined that the only priority is Rangers .

Rangers can play a role in a buoyant Scottish football climate. However they are not vital nor should they be placed in a priveleged position. Once everyone at Hampden and in the media gets that, there is a good chance of further progress

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yakutsukiPosted on6:24 pm - Apr 25, 2015

upthehoops says:
subscriber: (1241 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Is it wrong I get irked at my TV licence fee being used to fund an alleged St Mirren supporter giving nauseatingly biased match updates from Ibrox?


He was fair going OTT today. T’ rangers seem to have that effect on the wee soul.

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StevieBCPosted on6:45 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Eoinel Jessi says:
subscriber: (12570 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm

The question of refereeing arose over a few light ales in the pub last night. The following was suggested as a means of improving standards and increasing credibility: put the jobs out to tender to any referee in the EU…
Good post & points made.

In a free market, you would expect the best refs would be in the best league – and paid the most. Just like the players/managers/coaches etc.
But within the EU football world this is not allowable ?

We have foreign refs officiating at international/Champions/Europa games anyway, so officiating league games across Europe is not such a stretch.

And with the results today, and the possibility of TRFC finishing 3rd – you could also make an argument that to ensure absolute integrity in all play-off games they should be managed by other, top level European refs and officials.

The SFA and the SFA refs wouldn’t like it – but something radical has to happen to restore trust amongst the paying punters.

Why not ?

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SFMPosted on6:49 pm - Apr 25, 2015

The new Word Press role annotations will be finessed a bit over the next few days. The terminology is misleading. The epithet subscriber does not equate to an SFM subscriber – just to a registered user with posting rights.
I have asked for the terms “Member” and “Moderator” to be put in place of the current lexicon.

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coineanachantaighePosted on7:23 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Allyjambo says:
subscriber: (1180 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

I believe that incident was Partick Thistle v Dundee Utd – if not then that weird scenario happened twice! It was maybe the fact we got a hammering anyway that let the ref a little off the hook – his daft decision had no effect on the result. I was there when that happened. The ref’s blunder at least gave us a laugh when the rest of the game was awful for us.

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jimmciPosted on7:33 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Listened to Sportsound today as Chick Young went from agony to ecstasy when Rangers finally equalised.

All joking apart how can the editorial team at BBC Scotland possibly justify giving this man a contract for next season? It’s clear he’s so hopelessly biased he should never have had one.

I can only imagine the peerless Richard Gordon must be embarrassed to be on the same team as this clown.
Richard is an avowed Don – and that’s great- he’s a real football man and he’s also a consummately professional broadcaster.

Chick? I’m almost speechless.
Get this man removed from the license payers’ wage bill. It’s no longer even remotely funny.

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Danish PastryPosted on8:02 pm - Apr 25, 2015

A wee heads up for any exiles. The satellite changes which have resulted in smalller ‘footprints’ mean that overseas subscriptions to Sky and the like are almost useless in Europe. And Sky is now a bit too tainted to merit my shilling anyway. There are other providers offering IPTV, one of which I have, but it is wall-to-wall EPL, which is ok if that’s your thing. I have never used a VPN before but took a one-month trial via an online site. I can now stream Alba and Sportsound on MW without geoblocking. Livi v Hibs this week and Stranraer v Morton today, and some big matches coming up. Brilliant.

To be honest, I see no reason why the international online broadcast rights to Scottish football are given away with the other broadcast rights. Who is actually broadcasting Scottish games via webcast, apart from in-house club stations? Seems such a wasted opportunity for the SPFL. OK, it might be mainly the exile viewer, but I’m convinced there’s a market for a modest webcasting SPFL service.

Bravo Morton, btw. Div. 1 is heading for a great finish.

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parttimearabPosted on8:41 pm - Apr 25, 2015

nawlite says:
subscriber: (154 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 2:50 pm
Allyjambo says:

April 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm
Found it. not great quality in those days (the video, that is, before United fans give me stick!)
Funnily enough recent events had got me thinking about the incident you posted about.

Undoubtedly the worst piece of refereeing I’ve ever seen..can laugh about it now (and IIRC not a critical game at the time)..can only imagine the stushie that would result now 😆

Thanks for digging it out though….Something of a classic of the kind… 😛

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bobferrisPosted on8:45 pm - Apr 25, 2015

I remember the STV Old Firm one well but the mistake only lasted a few minutes, not until half time. Ha ha, that’s “only” believing the score was 1-0 when it was still 0-0 for several minutes! Think Charlie Nicholas was the co-commentator. I could hear the Rangers cheers turning to jeers from the Celtic fans, it was obvious, yet the morons were too engrossed in the action replays to notice and the director obviously the same. Minutes passed, the wrong score line was on the screen, the two of them talked about how the game had changed only for McNee to go silent for a while then come back on and tell us the score was still 0-0. Laugh? I almost soiled myself.

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parttimearabPosted on8:55 pm - Apr 25, 2015

parttimearab says:
April 25, 2015 at 8:41 pm

nawlite says:
April 25, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Allyjambo says:
April 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for digging it out though….Something of a classic of the kind…
I should add though that given that I’m now watching Paddy Connoly’s son playing for United it does make me feel kinda old….thanks withdrawn… 😀 😀 😀

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on9:19 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Jingso.Jimsie says:
subscriber: (41 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Methilhill Stroller says:
subscriber: (41 comments)
April 25, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Jingo J
BBC Sport not clear why Meekins on list and did not specifically mention the Cup, on which I think you are right. ICT decided to play him anyway?

Could be another administration error – we shall see no doubt?


Meekings has only been booked 3 times this season.
6 cautions required for a ban.
His name should not have been on the list and was an administrative error. This was confirmed by (a frantic) ICT prior to the KO.

Bizarre coincidence.

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Adeste FidelesPosted on9:24 pm - Apr 25, 2015

This is the Gerry McNee commentary people have been mentioning.

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AuldheidPosted on10:01 pm - Apr 25, 2015

Steviebc 6.45

What is suggested would be natural outcome of making refereeing a service.


The refs would learn to love it.

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